LANDLORDS have hiked rents by up to seven per cent since last year, new figures show, and now an expert is warning things are only going to get worse.
More than a quarter of renters face bigger bills than they did the year before, according to new data from ARLA Propertymark.
The regulatory body, which represents over 9,500 letting agents, monitors rent rates and found that January’s figures indicated that on average at least three landlords were selling their buy-to-let properties per branch.
This, combined with increasing demand – the number of renters is up 46 per cent on the month before – means that there is more competition in the market, which could also drive up costs.
ARLA boss, David Cox, reckons this is just the start of a series of rises and is urging tenants to prepare for a “rough ride” as landlords look to sell up ahead of June’s tenant fee ban.
He said: “This month’s results are another huge blow for tenants.
“With demand increasing by 46 per cent from December, and rents starting to rise in response to all of the cost increases landlords have experienced over the last few years, tenants are in for a rough ride.
How to haggle with your landlord and bring down your rent
WHEN you first sign your tenancy agreement with your landlord your rent should be agreed either in writing or verbally.
To increase your rent your landlord must send you a section 13 notice which gives you a month’s notice in writing telling you how much your rent will be increased by and the date when your rent will go up.
At this stage you should try to talk to your landlord and come to a fair agreement on how much rent you should pay.
Your landlord can only raise your rent if you agree to the increased price.
Matt Hutchinson, communications director for flatsharing website SpareRoom.com said that if you are a good tenant then you’ve got bargaining power.
“The first thing to bear in mind is that demand is lower at the moment than over the past couple of years.
“That means you’ve got a bit more bargaining power, especially if you’ve been a good tenant, as your landlord won’t want the expense and hassle of having to find another tenant and even potentially face a period with the property empty.
“Failing that, it’s worth seeing if you can get anything thrown in with a rent increase, such as minor bits of redecorating or any bills.”
Landbay have a free rent check service to see how much rent you should be paying in your area.
You can find the rent check service here.
Find out more about how to haggle with your landlord to bring your rent down here.
“With the Tenant Fees Act passing its final hurdle in the House of Commons and receiving Royal Assent this month, tenants will continue bearing the brunt, as agents and landlords start preparing for a post-tenant fees world.”
The Sun has previously reported how the long awaited ban on the rip-off fees could actually end up adding another £100 a year to bills.
The new law is due to come into effect on June 1 and will stop letting agencies charging renters around £432 when taking on a new agreement.
Agents say that these cover costs such as writing up a contract, conducting credit checks and other administration expenses.
One letting agent was even caught charging potential tenants £300 just to view a property.
Ministers reckon it will save renters £300 each, but industry insiders say it will cost the industry £200million, which is likely to be passed on to landlords to foot the bill.
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The ban, combined with new tax laws, will squeeze landlords who may be forced to pass on hikes to tenants by raising rents by an average of £103 a year.
This figure could rise to £275 a year if landlords pass on the full inflated costs of agents managing their properties.
Even so, renters are expected to spend a combined £154MILLION on tenant fees ahead of the ban.
That’s why we’ve spoke to the experts to put together a guide on how to drive down the costs if you have to move before the ban comes into play.
What you should know before renting your home
THE number of people privately renting in the UK is at record highs. Here is what you need to know:
- What is a tenancy agreement and what should I look out for?
The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. Most tenancy agreements are an assured shorthold tenancy agreement for a fixed term – usually six to 12 months.
Make sure it include your details and those of your landlord as well as the duration of your tenancy from start to the agreed finish date.
It should also include what payments are expected, like council tax, utilities and service charges as well as the services your landlord will provide, such as maintenance of common areas to avoid.
Read of all of this carefully to avoid any unsuspected charges.
- Beware of rogue letting agents
You can now check for a rogue landlord or letting agent in London by using the online London Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker.
You can use the checker to find landlords and letting agents that have been fined or convicted of a relevant housing offence.
- How to avoid letting fees
Many renters are still facing ridiculously high letting fees almost two years after it was announced they would be banned.
The good news is that in recent years, a number of websites and online estate agents have sprung up that can help people connect with landlords directly. Read our guide here.
- Ask about maintenance work and require repairs if neccessary:
Which? investigation revealed letting agents brushed off questions about maintenance, with many stating that work would be carried out before the tenant moved in, or would need to be dealt with by the landlord.
But property expert Kate Faulkner told Which? that tenants should avoid this type of verbal agreement.
Instead, required repairs should be made conditional as a special clause in the tenancy agreement.
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